Monday, 5 February 2018

Meaning of the word 'Reiki'

When I was introduced to people in Japan as a 'reiki person' I detected a certain puzzlement about this.  However when I mentioned 'Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho' it was clear that this phrase was more easily understood (unlike here in the UK where people struggle with these words!).  It means 'Usui's method of reiki healing'.  This brought home to me a difference about how we use the word Reiki in the West to it's original meaning in Japan.

The first definition of the word reiki I encountered was 'Universal Life Energy'.  At the time I didn't really know what that meant on a conscious level, but somehow intuitively recognised what it was referring to.  Over the years as I have practiced and taught Reiki my intuitive understanding of this simple little word has deepened through experience. 

River at Kurama, Japan
I was therefore interested when the meaning of the word 'reiki' was discussed in a recent webinar with Phyllis Furumoto and a Japanese Reiki master Hyakuten Inamoto.  He  explained the energy of reiki in a way that resonated with my understanding and experience of this energy.  He described how a Japanese person walking in the forest  feeling the energy of nature there would call that 'reiki'. 

When I give a Reiki treatment or teach Reiki I have an experience of energy that is very similar to what I experience when walking in the woods, or by the sea or other places where nature is undisturbed.  The results of being in this energy are similar too: both being in nature and receiving Reiki calm me and re-connect me with that inner place of quiet stillness where I have a feeling of peace and that all is well. I experience a sense of connectedness with all that surrounds me.  Hyakuten went on to say that the meaning of  'reiki' recognises the oneness of all things.

I was also interested to hear Hyakuten say that Usui was not unique in being able to tap into this energy.  There were other healers in Japan who also developed a connection to reiki that they were then able to channel for the healing of others.   This is similar to spiritual healers, pranic healers and other sorts of healers who also connect with this 'life energy' and have it flow through their hands for healing.  So to the Japanese the word 'reiki' doesn't mean a healing system.  What is unusual about Mikao Usui is that not only did he become a healer himself, but also devised a way to pass on this gift simply and easily from one person to another and a way of being with that energy that supports ongoing practice. 

So those of us who are not Japanese also use the word 'Reiki' to refer to this practice of healing using reiki energy as devised by Mikao Usui.   So when I was introduced as 'a reiki person' to my Japanese friends it is understandable that they were somewhat puzzled about how or why I would be connecting with the life energy.  Describing it as Usui shiki reiki ryoho gives a clearer picture of what we do - connecting with reiki energy using the system devised by Dr Usui.   

So I'm grateful for the further understanding of the different meanings of the word 'reiki' through my experiences in Japan and the explanation of Hyakuten.  I'm also grateful to Mikao Usui for devising such a beautiful way for us to connect so simply with the wonders of reiki energy!

You can watch the webinar with Hyakuten here: